Taste of europe
The XEF – Spanish Gastropub
The XEF's chef Manuel Manzano
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ABOUT chef Manuel Manzano
Manuel Manzano is a Spanish chef who has over 20 years of experience under his belt. He has started his The Xef as a catering business and now he runs his gastropub in Yongsan-gu, Seoul. He offers authentic and fresh Spanish food daily. to our customers at the gastropub.
Chef Manuel Manzano (left) & The Xef's Sea Food Paella (right)
+82 70 8845 7494
Manuel Manzano (hereafter M.M.): Hello! Thank you for having me. I have been living in Korea for 12 years now, 11 years in Seoul and 1 year in Busan. Great experiences all the places I have been working. Finally, I could bring my experience at my own place. The Xef, is my little baby, we started as a catering business and representative of Spain in street festivals. Now, we can offer also our Spanish traditional food daily to our customers at the gastropub. We are having all our passion and energies here. Without forgetting the origin.
Hello Manuel! It is our pleasure to talk with you. You have been in Korea for a long time and working for well-known Spanish restaurants in the past. Is The Xef your personal project?
M.M.: We give the opportunity to have Spanish tradition and real Spanish taste. With the food we are having and giving also a little of my country to the people. We basically use local ingredients, always fresh, and the best Spanish imported products. Is our way to help the local shops and the importers who are working hard everyday to give the best products. Like my family always do, we share our country with the food and love. Is our responsibility to make close our culture to the local people.

Some of our costumers are not just coming for the food, the have sometimes questions related from them experiences in Spain or for future trips.
What is your main idea and what do you offer at The Xef?
M.M.: Good question! I am the veteran here, so I have seen how it is changing. Korea have been always really closed to my country, this year we celebrate 70 years diplomatic relations. The direct flights to Spain, the Camino de Santiago… Also, they love the country and the food. The TV shows and other entertainment shows have been helping to make Spain close to the people. So, the interest of locals has helped to us to share the culture with the food. Many people are doing now Spanish restaurants, people who fall in love with the country and Chefs who arrived here or who went to study our food. It is great to me; it helps to keep my eyes open and give the most authentic. There is market for everyone in Seoul, and until now the competition is going healthy and with respect. It makes nice image of our businesses.
The Spanish foods have been gaining more popularity for the past years, how do you see it?
M.M.: Well, everything starts from the bottom. We go to the local markets and buy the best from small shops. This personal contact with our suppliers is giving the little love that the costumer need. And that is followed in our place. The location is close to everyone, we are on the middle of the city. And our interior, with just 4 tables and open kitchen. Suggest to the people that we are here to give the chance of having the chef close. From the Spanish culture it is normal to be close and have nice conversations. We are so happy when people experience that with us.
The Xef's location and the place itself is unique. You are closer to your costumers. How is it?
Before we wrap up the interview, could you tell me your secret to living a happy life?
M.M.: Thank you too. The happiness comes with the costumer. When they are satisfied, it is what make us proud. Something coming, like a new recipes and new projects always. Step by step we want to do more things to give more nice experiences to the local people.

Again, thank you for giving the chance to introduceThe Xef to your members and hoping to see them having nice experience with us. The Xef is always open for everyone.